INTERVIEW: Philippe Ribière

Philippe Ribière, 57 kb
Philippe Ribière
© Philippe Ribière coll.

After more than a year of filming, the Wild One* movie is finally finished. The movie is a 87 min documentary about the world famous handicap climber Philippe Ribiere who was born with the Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome which is a series of several handicaps that includes various deformities. Abandoned by both parents on Martinique and adopted by a French family at age four.

16 years ago he discovered climbing, a sport that would change his life.

*Not to be confused with the 1953 László Benedek movie featuring Marlon Brando.

Why did you decide to make this movie?
Well, it is a really long story and at the same time really simple.
It is true I wished one day that a filmmaker could be interested in my life. I mean after so many years in the climbing industry, medias helped me to evolve and to grow up.
When you watch the film, you will know what I mean.

I'm just saying that climbing helped me to change my life and to not consider myself a handicapped person, even though, I was just a bizarre boy in my childhood for "normal" people. And I do remember when I was 6 years old, I went to the supermarket with my adoptive mother and at one moment a small kid looked me like strangely mixed with the attractive feelings. In one second her mother grabbed his hand and said to him " don't look at him". It was a shock for me to see how adults could react to someone who looks abnormal.

Later when I was a teenager I tried to do like my friends and to get a girlfriend. At this time I realized my difference and how girls could see me. It was not the fear but something not so far from it.

Why am I telling you this?
Because climbing helped me to show my arms, my face and my body to people. How I can climb with my arms? All small details were and are my therapeutic solutions. And I say to myself "if I can touch one disabled person to recognize that he is the greatest, most beautiful, smartest person in this world, why not to make a movie like an example.?".

The most important for me is to recognize that I am unique (like you) and to turn the page of "loneliness" and "deception" or else. Once again, if one handicapped person can get up to say "me too I can do a sport, or art, or whatever, Just the thing I am a person with an heart and everyone needs "LOVE'".

Was it difficult for you to reveal so much about yourself and your life?
Not really in fact! For sure some moments were not the most happy, but not like in the suffering.
I think that if I was not able to look for my roots and be ready for it, I couldn't start the film. At this point, I am satisfied to see where my face came from when I see myself front of the mirror. But to be honest, I am pretty sure that all feedbacks will come when I will see the reactions of the public in the cinema. I have already some reports of it and I am glad to see the reactions of people. It is an amazing documentary who is talking about LOVE in many ways.

Now you have just to come, to sit down, to shut up and to watch ;)

There is, in this film, something magical.

Like my American friends from Hueco Ranch says: YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOU SEE IT!

Has the making of the movie helped you to "move on" so to speak?
No, because I have held so many lectures and slideshow for 7-8 years that it was not a big deal to talk about my private life. It is just because to understand how to become a professional climber, you have to understand roots.

What's your next project?
The next one is the next one...

I'm not sure when the film will have its official premiere. Watch this space!

Philippe Ribière is sponsored by Petzl, The North Face, La Sportiva, Chimpanzee bar, Climb On and Lapis

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